Hoover to implement plan for fiscal measures, remote work in response to pandemic

HOOVER – Hoover officials are developing a plan for city employees to work from home and in shifts in order to continue providing services while trying to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.

“We are all aware of the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said during a press conference on Monday, March 16, at Hoover City Hall. “As mayor of Hoover, my highest obligation is to protect the health and welfare of our citizens and visitors.  With this in mind, I have instructed our staff to take several measures designed to prevent the spread of disease, maintain critical city services and hedge against the negative economic impact that this event is very likely to create.

Brocato said residents should not expect city services to be negatively affected.

“We are prepared to continue to provide the services we’ve always delivered,” he said.

Hoover’s police and fire departments are developing plans to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Instead of all patrol working, we may let a group off for seven days so not everybody is coming in contact with everybody,” Hoover Police Department Chief Nick Derzis said. “We don’t want all our personnel to come in contact with something and put us out of work. Obviously, we have a job to do 24/7, 365. We’re trying to do everything we can to limit exposure to our personnel when we can.”

Hoover Fire Chief Clay Bentley said firefighters are familiar with guidelines on how to deal with the public and also de-contamination procedures when they return from calls.

“We are prepared, and we continue to prepare for this as it changes,” Bentley said. “This is evolving every day.”

Brocato’s executive order includes instructions on a staffing/remote work plan, avoiding grouping key staff, informational updates, preparing for flexibility in assignments and fiscal measures.

Fiscal measures outlined in the order include:

  • City travel must receive prior approval from the mayor’s office.
  • Expenditures should be limited to essential items.
  • The Purchasing Department will exercise enhanced review of requested expenditures.
  • Overtime will be limited to activities that are “absolutely essential for public safety and welfare.”

“As our business community suffers from an economic slowdown, we must anticipate that tax revenues will decline and we will have less money to operate the city in the coming months,” Brocato said.

Though many events in the city have been canceled, the annual Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament, which is one of the most significant events each year in the city, has not been officially canceled.

The SEC would ultimately make the decision about the event, Brocato said.

“Let’s face it, everything is at risk,” he said.